Disoriented behaviour

Anni has a 22-year-old son called Jussi. Jussi lives in Lappeenranta, where he moved two years ago to study. Anni lives in Tampere and currently meets her son a few times a year. For a long time now, she has suspected that something is not right with Jussi. Jussi has started to say confusing thing over the phone at times; he says, for instance, that other people can read his thoughts. Anni travels to visit Jussi and notices that his apartment is really messed up. Moreover, Jussi seems to be hearing voices and seeing things that Anni knows are pure imagination. Jussi has also stopped bathing, refuses to meet his friends and no longer goes to his lectures.

Jussi himself is not worried about his health; he thinks the only thing making his life difficult is other people watching him and wanting to interfere with his life.

What can Anni and Jussi do?

In a calm way, Anni should try to make Jussi understand that the situation cannot continue as it is and that he must see a doctor as soon as possible, at his local health care centre or student health care, for example.

It is possible that Jussi will not agree to see a doctor despite Anni’s attempts. However, Jussi’s health is at an acute risk; therefore Anni must act in order for Jussi to get help. Anni can call directly to the on-duty health care centre or the local psychiatric polyclinic or, if necessary, she may even call the public emergency number (112).

Jussi is suffering from psychotic symptoms. The majority of patients suffering from mental disorders are aware of their situation, thus, the form of treatment is decided together with the doctor. However, people suffering from psychotic symptoms are not always able to take care of themselves, even if they say they are. People unable to look after themselves because of psychotic symptoms will usually receive treatment at a psychiatric hospital. In case Jussi is in an extremely poor condition but refuses treatment, he will be admitted against his will, so to speak. The doctor will write a so-called M1 referral, admitting Jussi to the hospital until the right treatment method for him is determined.

At the psychiatric hospital, the state of health of persons suffering from a disorder will be determined and treatment planned. The duration of hospitalisation depends on the patients’ condition: whether they are ready to return home and cope with everyday life. Sometimes, patients may need so called supported living. After returning home, in Jussi’s case, he will become a so-called outpatient: he will visit the psychiatric polyclinic on a regular basis and meet with a psychiatrist and other mental health professionals. He may visit the day hospital, participate in various group activities or other rehabilitating activities. With successful treatment, Jussi can plan his future and cope with everyday life independently.

In addition, Anni should take care of her own coping abilities; the serious illness of a child is extremely hard for a parent. If Anni wishes to discuss her situation with an outside professional, she can, for example, call the crisis hotline or contact an association for the families of mental health patients.